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Volume XXIll 

December, 2019 

Number 12 

Marjorie Slavens 

I have been publishing the Midwest Computer 
Genealogists Newsletter since January, 2006. 
Although we have not met in the months of 
September and December during these years, I 
have published issues of the newsletter every 
month. I believe that is a total of 168 newsletters. 
This has certainly been a learning experience, and 
I have enjoyed the research, although the last 
minute activity related to final formatting, 
proofing, and correcting the articles has, at times, 
been a little stressful. Sometimes the newsletter is 
a little long and other times a little short. Moving 
margins solves some of those problems, but there 
is always some related historical event that will 
supplement an article, and there is always next 
month to include the article that will not fit this 

President Al Morse in his “The President’s 
Corner” and I in my family story articles have tried 
to suggest ways in which our readers might 
preserve a larger variety of their own family 
stories. Al has related stories about his family and 
the family of his wife, Dorothy. Dorothy was not a 
writer in these newsletters, but she was a major 
part of their poduction; as a former legal secretary, 
she was experienced in looking for mistakes that 
Al and I might never have seen. 

After writing monthly for several years, Al decided 
to collect his articles and produce bound copies for 
his two sons, Brian and Steve, and his brother, 
Carl. Each year he adds a new series of articles to 
their family collection. We both know that, just as 
we were too busy to think about such things while 

we were still working full-time, our younger family 
members may not have time to dedicate to 
genealogical research, but they will want to have 
the stories we are providing when they are no 
longer able to ask us questions about what we have 
discovered in our research. We hope our readers 
will preserve such written records and stories for 
their families. We are very pleased in recent 
months to add as a writer Al’s cousin and MCG 
presenter, Julia Morse, who has contributed 
articles for this publication. We welcome articles 
from other researchers as well. 

Al Morse 

My wife, Dorothy Jean (Newcomb) Morse, died 
January 3, 2019. We had been married 55 years. 
She was a survivor through many health problems. 
She always faced each one head on and accepted 
the circumstances without complaining. 

We were married August 18, 1963. I started 
teaching school in Independence, Missouri and she 
continued working as a stenographer for the FBI in 
downtown Kansas City, Missouri. She had to ride 
a bus from the Independence square to downtown 
Kansas City. The trip took about one hour each 
way. In the early part of 1964, she told me she 
wanted to quit and I agreed. In March, 1965, we 
bought a house in Independence near the freeway 
of I-70. She returned to work as a secretary for 
Gulf Oil in downtown Kansas City. She was able 
to find someone to ride with. She did this until our 
son, Brian, was born October 4, 1967. She became 
a stay at home mother. Our second son, Steven, 
was born September 29, 1970. She loved to cook 
and bake. She baked, decorated, and sold cakes, 
mainly birthday cakes, but she also did a wedding 

cake or two. 

Early in 1974, she felt a lump in her left breast. 

She saw her doctor, who referred her to a surgeon. 

She went in the hospital for a lumpectomy, but the 
doctor came and told me the lump was cancerous. 

She then had a left mastectomy. They also 
removed some lymph nodes, some flesh, and some 
muscle. She had no chemo or radiation treatments. 
The boys were 6 and 3 at this time. I was able to 
find some friends who helped keep them. Brian 
was in kindergarten. In the late spring of 1975, 
Dorothy felt a lump in her left neck. Surgery 
removed it and she had a partial hysterectomy. She 
did receive radiation treatments in her left neck 
area. This made it difficult for her to swallow for 
several weeks. She once again continued baking. 

She also started singing in the church choir and 
playing the piano at church. When the boys were 
both in elementary school, she started working at 
Cloth World on a part time basis. She then became 
very active in sewing. 

Things went along smoothly for several years. We 
did a lot of camping and took vacations. She 
became a legal secretary. The boys graduated from 
high school and from the University of Missouri in 
Kansas City (UMKC). 

We retired in 1994 and moved to the country. We 
bought one and a half acres from Dorothy's cousin 
and put a double wide trailer house on it. This was 
5 miles west of Rich Hill, Missouri. We did keep 
the house in Independence as we continued going 
back there for doctor's appointments. She felt a 
lump in her right breast in June, 1996. She saw a 
surgeon and then an oncologist. As he talked to 
her, he decided to check her heart. After a heart 
cath it was discovered that she had had a small 
heart attack and she had two heart murmurs. It was 
decided that medicine could take care of the heart 
for the time while she battled this new round of 

She had a biopsy to show the lump was cancer. 
She then had a powerful round of chemotherapy. 
She lost her hair. She had surgery for a right 

mastectomy. She then had another round of chemo 
and then radiation. Since the surgery in 1974, she 
slowly began to lose the feeling in her left hand 
and arm. As it continued to progress, she 
continued cooking, sewing, playing the piano, and 

She had been seeing a cardiologist for several years 
and it was determined she needed open heart 
surgery to replace the aortic heart valve with a 
man-made one. This surgery took place on 
February 10, 2004. Two days following the 
surgery, it was determined she needed a pace 
maker. It was installed on the right side as the left 
side had no flesh but only skin. In the fall of 2004, 
it was decided that we needed to move back to 
Independence, and we sold the house in the 

On January 7, 2005, she went to the hospital with 
a bacterial infection. It was discovered that she 
was losing blood from the area of the heart valve. 
On February 4, she had open heart surgery to 
replace the man-made heart valve with a flesh one. 
I kissed her as she was taken into surgery at 7:30 
am. It was after 9:00 pm that the surgeon came 
and talked to us about the surgery. They had to 
reconstruct the wall of the aorta. A new pace 
maker was place in her left waist area. She went to 
ICU where she remained, with a vent tube down 
her throat, for 3 weeks. She remained in the 
hospital for another 3 weeks, taking antibiotic IV's. 
She came home on March 17. 

For the next one to two years, she had to go back 
for some minor surgeries or because she had more 
bacterial infections. In 2006, she spent 5 weeks in 
a nursing home in Kansas City, Missouri for IV 
antibiotics. Even though she could no longer use 
her left hand or arm, she was still very active in 
cooking. When we moved to Foxwood Springs in 
Raymore, Missouri on August 19, 2008, she began 
taking painting classes. Over the years she painted 
many pictures. All in her class were amazed at her 
artistic ability by using one hand. We continued 
with gardening and canning. 

On September 23, 2017, she had a stroke, which 
affected her right hand. She started using puzzle 
books where you circle, or draw a line through, 
words. She enjoyed them. She then helped me 
cook and can. In the fall of 2018 she began to lose 
interest in doing her puzzle books and eating. She 
wanted to lie down. She entered the Care Center 
at Foxwood Springs on November 29 and was 
placed on hospice on December 13. She 
peacefully passed away 3 weeks later on January 3, 


Julia Morse 

One of my favorite finds from free online book 
libraries (such as and Google Books) 
is a book that records reminiscences of Vermont 
frontier life in the same village where my third 
great grandfather, Ephraim Morse, (MCG’s 
Albert Morse’s great-great-grandfather), lived as 
a very young child. 

The narrative was, in fact, written by a very 
distant Morse cousin, Bathsheba Phillips Crane, 
about her Morse grandfather’s homestead in the 
same neighborhood. We know that our own 
Morse family had two aunts who were married to 
founders who cleared and settled the town in the 
1760s, so our family was very much connected to 
the community described by Mrs. Crane. 

At this time of year, I always enjoy referring to 
Mrs. Crane’s description of Thanksgiving as 
celebrated in her Morse grandparent’s homestead 
during her childhood in the 1810s: 

“The great family gathering was at Thanksgiving, 
which came in December, when children and 
children’s children assembled at the old 
homestead, to acknowledge the blessings of a 
kind Providence, and enjoy the yearly feast. The 
house was put in the best possible order for the 
occasion; the pewter was scoured till it shone; 

the Delft cups and saucers, so diminutive in size, 
with their bright red roses, birds, and quaint 
figures, were nicely arranged, the furniture 
rubbed and polished, the floors scrubbed and 
sanded, and the great open fireplaces where 
“Lords of the forest, maple, birch, and pine, lay 
down for them in flames of martyrdom,” were 
radiant with light and heat. 

The supper was of the most substantial kind, yet 
excellent even in those days when luxuries were 
comparatively few. Besides the roast meat, plum 
pudding, chicken, mince and pumpkin pies, a 
boiled dish that had been cooking in a great 
kettle over the kitchen fire occupied a prominent 
place upon the table. It consisted of beef, pork, 
chickens, and a good assortment of vegetables, 
covered with a thick, light crust or dumplings, 
making a lordly dish not to be rejected, and 
regarded as some of the guests as the best part of 
the dinner. Apple-sauce and pickles served as a 
relish. The divine blessing was invoked before 
eating, and thanks returned after the repast was 

“Before the party separated, they joined in 
singing one of the old songs that had thrilled 
their lyres in days gone by, every note of which 
bore a tale of joy or sorrow to the heart, 
according as their lot had been. These family 
gatherings were kept up so long as_ our 
grandparents lived.” [Jacob and Sarah Hawes 
Morse both died in 1818.] [Reference 1] 

This is a great example of the kind of details of 
life for our ancestors that are not passed down in 
family Bibles, family trees, or vital records. 
How amazing that from the comfort of our home, 
we can mine into the vast old libraries, now 
scanned and text-searchable online! 

I unearthed Bathsheba Crane’s wonderful 
reminiscences of early settlement life in 
Newfane, Vermont, as a result of a search I was 
doing on one of her cousins who is named in her 
book. At the time, I found it through Google 
Books, but her book is now also found in the 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 
book collection at 

The Allen County Public Library collection is 
amazing! You can search just within this 
collection at the link above. Try a unique family 
name or a location where they lived and see what 
you can come up with. [Reference 1] 

Crane, Bathsheba H. (1880). Life, letters, and 
wayside gleaning: For the folks at home. Boston: 
James H. Earle, Publisher, p. 51-52. 

(Note: Julia’s article suggests a topic for future 
articles about family customs surrounding major 
holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, July 4, 
Halloween, etc.) 

Marjorie Slavens 

We frequently discuss the various ways one can 
preserve family history stories. My mother, 
Mildred Welty Slavens, and I used Family 
Treemaker to preserve our research data at first. 
The program permitted us to enter dates, family 
connections and also to include notes about the 
information we included in the data base of the 
program. However, we soon discovered that 
writing the stories which were based on the data 
was a more effective way to both preserve the 
information and to interest other people who 
were not doing the basic research in reading the 
material. Names, dates, and places do not inspire 
family members to read about the family 
discoveries, but telling their stories about who 
they were and how they lived was much more 
interesting for those who were not doing the 
basic research. Mother published 6 books on her 
Welty, Eppright, Kerr, Crawford, and Heape 
family lines and was able to share them with 
other branches of these families. She and I both 
have preserved some of these stories through 
MCG Newsletter articles. 

When in the 1940s and 1950s we visited my 
great grandparents, Charles Merlin Kerr and 
Millie Bain Kerr in Asbury, Jasper County, 
Missouri, I heard many stories about the friends 
and activities when they were first married in 
1896 and lived in Medoc, Missouri in a hotel 
they had purchased and continued to manage 
until they decided to move their business to 
Asbury in 1907. Asbury is a small town between 
Joplin and Pittsburg. I did not know the people 
about whom they talked, and I was not very 
interested in the stories when I was very young, 
but, fortunately, they repeated the same stories so 
often that I could bring some of them back when 
I was old enough to be interested in them. 

Charles Kerr had 16 brothers and sisters. His 
father, John Kerr, married Susan Adams, and 
they had 12 children, moving from Washington 
County, Pennsylvania to Licking and Union 
Counties, Ohio, and then to Dewitt and Piatt 
Counties, Illinois, and finally in 1865 to 
Cherokee County, Kansas briefly and then, to 
Jasper County, Missouri. Then, he married Mrs. 
Harriet Dale in Clinton, Dewitt County, Illinois, 
and they had a daughter. Then, he married 
Elizabeth Crawford Branin, who already had four 
children when they were married; John and 
Elizabeth had four children, Millard, Alice, 
Charles, and Huldah, who were 11, 9, 7, and 3 
years old when John Kerr died in Medoc in 1870. 
Elizabeth could not easily care for her children, 
and Charles was placed with another family, who 
cared for him and assured that he had a good 
basic education. 

We knew Charles Kerr had some brothers and 
sisters that remained in Illinois when he came 
with his parents to Jasper County, but we knew 
very little about the step-brothers and step-sisters 
before Mother researched the family. we only 
knew about the family that came to Missouri. My 
great grandfather had a family Bible, which had 
belonged originally to his father’s first wife, 
Susan Adams Kerr. All of the 17 children were 
listed there with births and deaths, if they were 
known. Her mother and brother had the Bible 

until Mother began her family research, and her 
brother, Edward Charles Welty, gave it to her. 

Mother later found an article in which Charles 
step-sister, Mary Jane Kerr Nicewander of 
Champaign County, Illinois told about her family 
and the trip that brought them from Ohio to 
Central Illinois. Mother included this 
information in her Kerr and Crawford family 

Family stories need to be verified before they are 
shared. I remember hearing that the Kerrs from 
“Kerr jars” were among his brothers, but we have 
found no evidence of any relationship; they were 
certainly not children of John Kerr. 

Mother knew nothing about the family of her 
great grandmother, Elizabeth Crawfored Branin 
Kerr, before she began her genealogical research. 
She made some excellent early research 
discoveries through family contacts on the Jasper 
County site of USGenweb. We visited Auglaize 
County, Ohio, where Elizabeth and her family 
had lived and found more important information 
about the Crawfords, the Branins, and the Adams 
family of her great great grandmother, Nancy 
Adams Crawford. 

Charles Kerr married Elzina H. (Ella) Heape in 
Peru , Kansas in 1886. After living in Medoc, 
they moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1890, 
where he worked as a brakeman on the Santa Fe 
Railroad. Ella Heape Kerr died in February, 1895 
following child birth. Charles took his two 
children, Hattie, my grandmother, and Ora, back 
to Medoc, where he and Millie Bain were 
married June 30, 1896. They lived for a while on 
her father’s farm but purchased a hotel in Medoc 
in 1903, where they lived and operated the 
business until March, 1907, when they moved 
their business to Asbury. They operated that 
business until 1943. They were married for 62 
years before her death in 1959. Charles Kerr died 
in April 1962 at age 98 /. 

[Copyright article removed for archive 
edition of this newsletter. ] 


At our November, 2019 meeting, we discussed 
the future of Midwest Computer Genealogists. 
President Al Morse, Treasurer Byron Gilbreath, 
and Marjorie Slavens, Newsletter Editor, 
Programs Chair, and Secretary proposed that 
MCG be discontinued. Marjorie can no longer 
schedule programs, and we have had no 
volunteer to fulfill that role. We decided to 
donate our remaining funds to the Genealogy 
Branch of the Cass County Library when the 
organization is terminated. 

Since that time, Julia Morse, our August speaker, 
who has presented several programs and has also 
contributed articles for the newsletter, suggested 
that she would like to preserve the newsletters on 
the web. She says, “I had two ideas for keeping 
the newsletter archive online and accessible 

digitally to future researchers: First, I could set 
up a website for these (free on Wordpress). But 
more lastingly, I would like to publish them on (Internet Archive), which should end 
up making them permanently available in the 
public domain. 

I have not published yet on Internet Archive, but 
have plans to put some of our own family 
documents there, so need to learn how to do it 


If you are thinking of continuing the newsletter 
for a while, I would be interested in continuing to 
submit some articles as able, or at least some 
vignettes drawn from the past, like the December 
Thanksgiving description--hopefully on a 
monthly basis.” 

Our newsletters were for some time included on 
an MCG web site, but that site no longer exists. 
Monthly newsletters have been placed on the 
Foxwood Springs residents’ web site, but new 
issues replace the previous months issues. If we 
are able to create such an online reference home 
for our newsletters, we will try to do so. In 
addition, we will continue to publish the 
newsletter as long as we are able to do so. Some 
of us continue to research our family history, and 
the newsletter gives us an opportunity to share 
our research with other interested researchers. 
There will be a January issue of the newsletter, 
and we will continue to keep our readers 
informed about the status of this project. Our 
recognition by the state of Missouri as Midwest 
Computer Genealogists is paid through August, 

Al Morse, President 

Byron Gilbreath, Treasurer 
Marjorie Slavens, Programs, Newsletter Editor